SaharaReporters received a statement from Egechukwu Obetta, the lawyer representing Nnamdi Kanu, describing Mr. Kanu's continued detention by the Department for State Services (DSS) and events surrounding his case. Included in this statement is the frustration that Mr. Kanu has been detained incommunicado since October 14th, 2015 and that he has been denied access to medical and legal assistance during this period.
Mr. Obetta also accused the court and DSS of refusing to release Mr. Kanu despite their claim that they have met all bail conditions ordered by the court.
The statement also outlines Mr. Obetta's next moves, which include hosting “a meeting of representatives of all non-governmental organizations in Nigeria, ” and “petition the Chief Justice of Nigeria, the National Human Rights Commission, the National Assembly and the Nigeria Bar Association.”
Mr. Obetta also stated that his law firm is preparing a legal brief to bring the Federal Government of Nigeria and DSS to the Human Rights Court in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
The detention of Nnamdi Kanu has emboldened Biafran nationalist movements in recent weeks leading to demonstrations throughout southern States in Nigeria and globally. Demonstrators have called for the release of Mr. Kanu, who is leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and the Director of Radio Biafra. Many protesters are also agitating for independence and greater autonomy of the Biafran region from the Nigerian federation.
The full text of Mr. Obetta's statement can be read below:
IN THE MATTER OF STATE SECURITY SERVICE (SSS) AND MAZI NNAMDI KANU: PROGRESS REPORT
We are Solicitors to Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the Leader/Director of Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), and Radio Biafra, respectively. He has retained our services and it is on this basis that we act. He shall hereinafter be referred to as “our client”.
According to our client, he was, on 14th October, 2015, arrested by the agents of the Federal Government of Nigeria, the State Security Service (SSS) in his hotel room i.e. Golden Tulip Essential Hotel Ikeja, Lagos State.
Between 14th and 17th October, 2015 his where about were unknown until 18th of October, 2015, when the Press Media broke the news of his arrest and detention by the SSS in Abuja.
He was subsequently arraigned on three count charges of Criminal Conspiracy, Managing and Belonging to an Unlawful Society; Criminal Conspiracy and Intimidation – these offences are in the category of simple offences (misdemeanor) hence bailable.
The following are highlights of our stewardship in the last two weeks:-
Our client was arrested by the agents of the State Security Services in his hotel room at Ikeja, Lagos state on Wednesday the 14th day of October, 2015 on suspicion of belonging to an unlawful society, criminal conspiracy and intimidation which are all bail able misdemeanor offences. Please find attached copy of the charge sheet, marked as exhibit.
He has been held incommunicado by the SSS ever since his arrest on the 14thday of October, 2015, and has been denied access to his physician and legal representatives even though the SSS has been fully apprised of the fact that he suffers from severe peptic ulcer and requires constant medication.
Due to the public outcry and the effort by our firm, the SSS on 19th of October, 2015 hurriedly arraigned our client on the aforementioned charges i.e. belonging to an unlawful society, criminal conspiracy and criminal intimidation which are bailable misdemeanor offences.
The Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Wuse II, Abuja, on 19th of October, 2015 granted our client bail in the most stringent condition of N10, 000,000 (ten million naira only) with one surety of grade level 16 in like sum and must be an owner of a landed property with an original, Certificate of Occupancy, within the Federal Capital Territory and for such landed property to be verified by the Prosecution from the State Security Service.
On 20th of October 2015 our Firm managed to meet with the bail conditions and duly informed the Prosecutor from the State Security Service as was ordered by the court.
Since 20th of October, 2015, the Prosecutor stoutly refused to conduct the said search and verification in a grand ploy to indefinitely detain our client extra-judicially and in flagrant violation of the Order of a Court of competent jurisdiction despite the fact that the bail conditions set by the court have been met and irrespective of the fact that the liberty of a citizen is in issue.
Miffed by the refusal by the Prosecutor to verify the property, our firm Egechukwu Obetta&Co. brought an application to the trial Magistrate on the 23rd of October, 2015, praying the court to make an order that our client should be produced from prison.
The Presiding Magistrate in response to our prayers issued an unambiguous and compelling Production Order for the SSS to produce MaziNnamdiKanu before the Magistrate Court on the same date and explain why it failed to release him upon meeting the imposed bail conditions. Find the attached copy of the Order.
The Production Order was communicated to the SSS by the court bailiff and the Police Orderly attached to the court immediately on the same 23rd October 2015. Regrettably the court bailiff together with the Police Orderly detailed by the court was sent back by the SSS and the Order was fragrantly disobeyed with impurity.
As it stands, our client has fulfilled the bail condition set by the court whereat he was charged with the aforementioned criminal offences.
The continued and unlawful incarceration of our client by the SSS defies all known democratic and constitutional provisions of the law, standards and rules set to safeguard the fundamental rights of citizens.
The SSS has no legal basis for the continued incarceration of our client whose health is severely deteriorating under the harsh and inhumane conditions that he is been held.
During this period, we have had intervening meetings/interviews with foreign government representatives such as representatives of the British Consulate, the U.S. Foreign Office, Amnesty International as well as Inter-society. We have also had series of press briefings/conferences with both the Nigeria Press Media and foreign-based media outfit such as Sahara Reporters and the Associated Press of South Africa. These were meant to add color of publicity in our tireless pursuit of our client assertion of his right to bail.
OUR NEXT MOVES
In view of the contemptuous attitude of the Federal Government’s (SSS) and their flagrant disobedience to Court Orders in this case, and the concomitant ridicule it has brought to the Judiciary, our firm intends to explore the following avenues :-
Host a meeting of representatives of all the non-governmental organizations in Nigeria.
Petition the Chief Justice of Nigeria, National Human Rights Commission, the National Assembly and the Nigeria Bar Association.
We are also preparing our brief to drag the Federal Government of Nigeria nay the SSS to the ECOWAS COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS to ventilate our clients’ right to personal liberty, freedom of expression, dignity of human person and equality before the law.
It should be noted that within the interval of eight days we have applied and gotten three Orders of Court against the SSS compelling them to release, produce or transfer our client to the prisons. It is heartrending to say that despite all the Court Orders emanating from a court of competent jurisdiction, the Department of State Security Service have willfully refused to obey these order(s).
This is our stewardship in the last two weeks in respect of this matter.
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